Speed Reads

The Iran crisis

Iran has offered Trump an 'off-ramp' from war, and there's growing speculation he might take it

Fears (and in some quarters, hopes) that self-styled "counterpuncher" President Trump would effectively declare war on Iran after Tehran fired ballistic missiles at Iraqi military bases housing U.S. troops Tuesday evening slowly abated as the tense night wore on. The White House announced Trump wouldn't make any official statement Tuesday, the U.S. military said there appeared to be no U.S. casualties, a grammatically correct tweet from Trump's account proclaimed "all is well!" with the Iran situation, and news emerged from Iran that it considered the missile strikes just revenge for the U.S. killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif made that statement somewhat official:

Some Iran observers, like Iranian-American journalist Yashar Ali, were deeply skeptical that Tehran was done avenging Soleimani's death, but other Trump watchers suggested that if it turns out no Americans were killed by Iran's precision missiles, Trump might actually take the proffered "off-ramp" from war with Iran.

The common thread from Trump supporters and detractors alike, though, is that you never know which way this president will fall until he's hit the ground. Peter Weber